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Goodbye to a tennis legend

Sep 29, 2014

After 35 years as the head women’s tennis coach and five national titles, Flagler College’s Walter Shinn has finally called it a match. Shinn retired at the end of the spring season. 

“I have been blessed to spend almost 35 years of my life working at Flagler College as a tennis coach,” he said. “Dr. Proctor and Dr. Abare gave me a great opportunity to find my gifts, and they supported me as I used them in coaching.  I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have coached so many talented men and women over these years. Flagler College and these athletes have given me more joy and thankfulness than I could ever have imagined.”

A member of the 11th Flagler Athletics Hall of Fame inducted this past May, Shinn amassed an overall record of 536-212 at the helm of the women’s program. He also posted a 274-159 mark in his 22-year career heading up the men’s program (1992-2014). 

He was named the NAIA Coach of the Year in each of the five seasons the Saints won the national title (1987-91) and he was inducted into the NAIA Coaches Hall of Fame in 2000. 

He has the distinction of being one of a handful of coaches to receive the Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year award in both men’s (2011) and women’s tennis (2014). He was recognized as the ITA’s Southeast Region Women’s Coach of the Year in 2014 after turning around a team that went 5-14 in 2013 to a 16-5 record this past year.

“Walter’s career success speaks for itself,” said Jud Damon, director of athletics at Flagler. “His five consecutive national championships (NAIA) are truly incredible. It is doubtful that his competitive accomplishments could ever be matched. He has certainly left his mark on Flagler College tennis.”

Walter and his wife, Martha, will continue to reside in St. Augustine, and he will remain active in teaching tennis within the local community.

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